Wlezien ‘12 is head athletic trainer for WNBA’s Chicago Sky

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In two short years, Heidi (McKean) Wlezien has gone from college grad to head athletic trainer for the WNBA Chicago Sky. The 2012 Upper Iowa University alumna credits her quick transition into this awesome opportunity with the education she received at Upper Iowa, as well as the connections she forged with the faculty.

A transfer student from Parkland College in Central Illinois, Wlezien chose Upper Iowa over four other universities vying for her to play basketball because of UIU’s athletic training program. “When I came to Fayette for my visit, I met Angie Leete (associate professor of athletic training and the director of athletic training education), and immediately liked Upper Iowa,” she said. “It was a smaller program, but that meant we had more hands-on learning with professors. Another aspect that was incredibly unique about the program was that all of the UIU athletic trainers were professors too. We worked together in the classroom and on the sidelines.”

During her three years at Upper Iowa, Wlezien rotated through the university’s Division II sports lineup working as an athletic training student for football, wrestling, volleyball, softball and women’s soccer. It was at UIU she met her husband, Chris Wlezien, a 2011 sports administration graduate and Peacock baseball player.

Following graduation from Upper Iowa, Wlezien became a grad assistant at Eastern Illinois University covering men’s and women’s swimming and rugby. After earning her master’s degree in one year, Eastern Illinois hired her as a full-time assistant athletic trainer. Last winter, one of her Upper Iowa professors reached out to her about an opening for a head athletic trainer for the Chicago Sky. The professor had gone to undergrad with the head athletic trainer at Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, the organization contracted by the WNBA team to provide athletic training services. “She asked me if I was interested, and of course, I thought it was a long-shot because of how young I am, but I said yes. It was an incredible opportunity,” Wlezien added. After a long interview process, she was hired over several other qualified candidates.

Currently, she is the only trainer for the 12-woman team, and travels with them throughout the May-August season.

Wlezien said she is extremely busy serving the needs of the athletes. “It’s all about time management,” she added. “I stagger treatments for the athletes based on their needs, their injuries.”

Despite the hectic schedule she keeps in order to serve her athletes, Wlezien feels very confident in the quality of education she received at Upper Iowa. “I’ve had two student interns and I was able to see the products of athletic training programs from other schools,” she said. “I truly believe that UIU’s program prepped me as well as it could have, and I am very grateful to have the education I have.”

UIU alumnus Jim Mazziotti ‘75 featured in EXIT Achiever Magazine

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Jim Mazziotti ‘75 wrote a feature, “A Proven Track to Run On,” for EXIT Achiever Magazine detailing his connection between the railroad industry of his hometown Oelwein, Iowa, and how he made the decision to open an EXIT franchise in Oregon.

Check it out here.

UIU’s “Peace” and her sisters featured in Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

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Since 1963, Upper Iowa’s Green Goddess “Peace” has adorned the top of Alexander-Dickman Hall. Recently, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier journalist Pat Kinney featured Peace’s sisters recently. To read more about Peace’s time at Upper Iowa, check out http://tmblr.co/Z_7PVszTR8A3

Kinney’s article is below:

WATERLOO | They’ve overlooked downtown Waterloo and followed its fortunes for more than a century. Well, at least most of them. And not always in the same location.

The statues on top of the old YMCA — now, River Plaza — building on West Park Avenue overlooking the Cedar River are known locally as the “Green Goddesses.”

Artist Robert De Glass created six copper allegorical figures that were placed atop the old Black Hawk County Courthouse at East Park Avenue and Sycamore Street in 1907. About eight feet in height, they represented Industry, Agriculture, Justice, Knowledge, Science and Peace.

According to a timeline compiled by Donna Nelson of Nelson Properties, which owns the River Plaza building, the five statues were almost contributed as scrap metal for the World War II war effort in the 1940s. Some local residents objected, referring to the “goddesses” as the only art in Black Hawk County.

In 1957, one of the goddesses toppled from its perch when a rusted stabilizing pipe gave out. It was, perhaps a harbinger of things to come for the courthouse.

In 1963, that courthouse was razed but the statues were spared. The goddess Peace was leased to Upper Iowa University in Fayette. The goddess Industry was lost or destroyed. The remaining four were moved to the Waterloo Recreation Center, now the Waterloo Center for the Arts, until the early 1980s, when Nelson asked then-Waterloo Mayor Leo Rooff to include them in a renovation of the River Plaza Building.

With the help of Warren Transport, Ralph Emerson of Cardinal Construction and Don Singer, who served on the Waterloo Recreation Commission, the goddesses Agriculture, Justice, Knowledge and Science were placed atop the River Plaza building in 1986. Their sister Peace can be seen on the Upper Iowa campus atop Alexander-Dickman Hall.

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UIU alumnus Scott Lebin ‘64 featured in Retirement Advisor magazine!

Alumna fights bullying on social media with #ICANHELP

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“After seeing what one school in one small town in Northern California did to combat negativity online, people all over the country became inspired to make a change.” 

Kim Karr ’04 is taking a bold stance against negativity and bullying on social media. Karr, a physical education and leadership teacher at Excelsior Middle School in Byron, Calif., is co-founder of #ICANHELP, an organization dedicated to empowering students to stand up to negative posts on all forms of social media. 

Karr has traveled to more than 150 schools throughout California sharing her message to students. On June 17 she made a special visit to her hometown of Decorah, Iowa, and gave a high-energy presentation to roughly 30 students, parents and school faculty at Carrie Lee Elementary School.

Karr’s message was assisted by student helpers who read aloud real-life stories of kids who have been directly affected by negativity on social media. Throughout her 90-minute presentation, Karr shared #ICANHELP’s five simple steps to battle negativity on social media:

  1. Post only positive messages.
  2. Report inappropriate posts.
  3. Block inappropriate people.
  4. Stop negative talk with positivity.
  5. Follow and support #ICANHELP.

Students who have participated in #ICANHELP training are referred to as “positive warriors.” Karr says everybody has the ability to stand up to negativity.

“People don’t vent to other people anymore; they vent to social media,” Said Karr. “The power of just one person standing up to negativity is incredible.”

Inspired by an incident at her school, Karr said she helped start this organization after a fake and damaging Facebook page was created for a local teacher, without her knowledge. Karr quickly developed the tools to help educate others how this negative behavior can affect people and leave a very hurtful lasting impression.

Overwhelmed by the support of her students, Karr realized “positive warriors” were all around her would help fight this unfortunate social media craze. These students have aided in spreading the word to other students all across the country.

For more information about #ICANHELP, visit www.icanhelpdeletenegativity.org

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2012 UIU alumnus Joshua Beebe leaves today for an 11-month mission to 11 countries!

UIU Madison Center alumna Renee Wilson ‘98 is featured in “In Business Madison” for stepping into her father’s role and taking Rockweiler Insulation into the next generation. 

UIU-Madison alumnus Will Green makes his second appearance on Peacock Tales! Check out this amazing alum and his efforts to mentor children in Dane County, Wisconsin.

The UIU RN-BSN program once again received some great coverage via the Des Moines Register.  The lead article in the special section issued Sunday for National Nurses Week was about the difficulty getting clinical sites, and started with our story.